The tearful plea of a young girl was the climax of a very tense Charlotte city council meeting today.
“It’s a shame that our father and mothers are killed and we can’t see them anymore,” said nine-year-old Zianna Oliphant as tears streamed down her face.
“It’s a shame that we have to go to their graveyard and bury them. And we have tears. We shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”
The emotionally charged city council meeting was the first held after protests over the fatal shooting of Keith Scott by Charlotte police.
Angry residents filled city hall and spewed harsh criticism for Charlotte police and Mayor Jennifer Roberts for the way they’ve handled Scott’s death. Scott— who was African-American— died on September 20 after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police attempted to serve a warrant to a man at another apartment complex.
Police saw Scott exiting his car as they were making their way through the complex parking lot. According to the police, the 43-year-old made a threatening move with a gun. Scott’s family said he was reading a book. However, the encounter ultimately ended with Scott laying face down dead in the parking lot.
It’s interesting how many black men have ended up dead because police “thought” they saw them brandishing a gun…But anyway, moving along….
The killing spurred violent riots throughout the town, which resulted in another man’s death. As a result, there’s been an increase in policing as well as the release of body/dashboard camera footage.
After the chaos that erupted in the past week, peaceful protestors filled the council meeting holding signs supporting Scott and the Black Lives Matter movement. Taking a page from Colin Kaepernick’s mantra to not support the flag of a nation that continues to murder innocent people of color—also the mantra of historical freedom fighters—they refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
But they didn’t stop there. Protestors also called for the mayor and police chief to step down. Roberts promised a clear investigation into the Scott shooting and called for more community dialogue.
But Roberts’s promises didn’t stop angry residents like little Zianna from voicing their opinions on how African-Americans are perceived.
“I’ve been born and raised in Charlotte. And I never felt this way ’til now and I can’t stand how we’re treated,” she said as she wiped her cheeks on her short sleeves.
“We are black people and we shouldn’t have to feel like this. We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to have rights.”